One of the most shameful things anyone can experience is to be stripped naked in front of other people. In fact, it’s a nightmare many people experience in their dreams! Why? Nakedness represents a state of helpless vulnerability, where every flaw and every thing we hate about ourselves is exposed for all to see and gawk at, criticize and laugh at – and we are all terrified of that. There is a similar condition in the spiritual realm – the helpless vulnerability and wretched humiliation – but it is one we aren’t as often aware of.
In Revelation 3:14-20, the Lord admonishes the church at Laodicea about their lukewarm faith, the lack of passion, the routine, and the mundane traditions that have snared them saying, “…you are neither cold nor hot [and] because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, and have stored up goods, and have need of nothing,’ yet do not realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Now, most Christians don’t look in the mirror and intentionally say to God, “I have need of nothing” – but once life has stripped bare everything you once held dear you realize, whatever you had really meant nothing and Jesus is all you need. Beautiful brokenness.
You must have your own protective gear if you’re going to walk through fire, or onto a battlefield.
We go to the small groups and the potlucks and the picnics and show up to the mid-week service, help in kids’ church, but struggle with spending time in saturated, diligent prayer at home. We listen to Christian radio, but don’t prioritize passionate, private worship. We read a verse in the Bible or our phones and check it off the list, never digging in or seeking revelation in the Word from the Holy Spirit. We avoid the pain of discipleship and accountability, admonition, discipline, self-denial, fasting, the sacrifices of praise, and the uncomfortable aspects of our faith and live off of our “stored up goods” in the faith.
Then what? Then we become lulled into the sense that we “have need of nothing” until Satan comes after your kids and your finances and your health and your career and your emotions and your marriage and your mental health or a world-wide pandemic strikes and you’re locked in your home and you’re constantly afraid of catching a contagious disease or of your loved ones dying, the churches are closed, the government is taking over, the stock markets are plummeting, people are hoarding supplies and hospitals are overwhelmed and then? We finally realize that we are – and have been the entire time – exposed and cold and shivering and humiliated, filled with fear, vulnerable, in pain, “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” and crying out to God to cover us. And praise God, HE WILL!
Thought for today
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be dressed, that the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see,” the Lord said. What does this mean? You cannot sustain yourself. You cannot look to your church to sustain you. When David had to face Goliath, “Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul.” (1 Samuel 17:32-40) You cannot borrow another person’s faith. You must have your own protective gear (Ephesians 6:12-18) if you’re going to walk through fire, or onto a battlefield. Whatever you need, God must be the source of your supply, as though no other options exist. When you have sought Him, first (Matthew 6:33), the rest will come- He promised! Don’t give the world’s troubles permission to traumatize you. Stay close to the Lord and closer the worse it gets. WORSHIP will take you there, keep you there and protect you there. (Psalm 91:1). You’ll never be wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked if the Lord is your protection and if He is the first place you turn for your every need, before you turn anywhere else!